Photo by Joe Boyle
The Palos Hills Police Department was honored with a resolution recognizing them for their professionalism in representing the city over the years.
By Joe Boyle
Police departments across the country have come under heavy scrutiny after the death of George Floyd due to the actions of a Minneapolis officer on May 13.
No one is more appreciative of that fact then Palos Hills Police Chief Paul Madigan. While cries of injustice have been heard throughout the nation since Floyd's death, Madigan had been one of the suburban police chiefs who has emphasized a more fair approach to serving the city.
"They do a wonderful job for the community," the veteran chief said during the Palos Hills City Council meeting last Thursday night. "In the past, we have had our issues. We had to discipline some officers and in some cases, we have had to let some go. I won't tolerate (police abuse) and the city won't tolerate it either. But I can say that this current force does a good job."
The Palos Hills Police Department was honored last week under Resolution 644. Ald. Pauline Stratton (2nd) originally introduced the proposal during the June 18 board meeting. The measure was approved unanimously by the board at the July 2 meeting.
"Over all these years, 39 years, we have not had a complaint about excessive force," said Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett in regards to the city's police force. "The city of Palos Hills is one of the most diverse by race, ethnicity and faiths. And the Palos Hills Police Department is one of the most diverse by race, ethnicity and faiths."
Stratton mentioned as part of the resolution that in over all the years of service t he police force has never received a complaint based on bias or excessive force. In December of 2015, the city and the police force banned the use of chokeholds as a means of interrogation and force.
Bennett said that the police has handled themselves in an exemplary matter over the decades. He also applauded residents of the community.
"It says a lot about the people of Palos Hills," the mayor said. "The police do a great job. But this is also a reflection of the people who live in this community."
Ald. Martin Kleefisch (1st) also had kind words for Madigan and the city's police department.
"Chief Madigan came in here with a lot of goals and he has accomplished all of them," Kleefisch said.
The mayor pointed out that the city is rated the fifth safest in the state.
"In all my years as mayor we are always have been near the top in safety," Bennett added.
Madigan was appreciative of the kind words. However, he was quick to point out that it was not always that way and changes had to be made. It has taken some hard work but the police department deserves the credit, he said. The transformation of the police department has partly occurred because the men and women on the force have changed. He said that navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging but the police force has adjusted and met those difficulties head on.
"I think they have a different attitude," Madigan said. "They have a better idea of what the job entails and what needs to be done. We have two deputy chiefs (Jeff Cucio and Traci Hlado) who if I weren't here could do this job seamlessly. I've put in a lot of effort training them and the people of Palos Hills can be proud of that. We really have a good police force here."